The villainous attacks of September 11th and the subsequent chemical
atrocities continue to threaten our national and personal bearings. They
have unmasked faces of evil in our world. At the same time they have
provoked action, and our prayers are with our government leaders for the
decisions they must make: diplomatic, political, economic, decisions on
humanitarian aid, and decisions on military force.
We have experienced a heightened sense of threat in our lives these
days, but there are also very positive developments taking place.
Unquestionably, we are witnessing a heightened sense of the treasure of
life and a renewed appreciation for the value of prayer in our
communities. The quest for meaning, for relationships of substance, and
for constructive action is even more explicit. We have a renewed
appreciation for the structures that make a difference.
When we speak about structures making a difference, we can't help but
focus on our parishes. It is an opportune time to renew Stewardship in
Faith. You recall that we conducted this program in all the parishes of
our Diocese three years ago. Thanks to your generosity, we achieved
inspiring commitments in time and talent from parishes throughout the
eight counties. Amazingly, weekly parish income increased by an average
At that time, over 20,000 volunteers came together to pray and work
for the success of the program in their parishes. As a result, our
parishes realized 24 million dollars in new monies. Hundreds of
necessary projects were begun and completed, employee salaries were
raised, and new ministries were organized.
We promised then that we would conduct an update in three years. So
here we are, with even greater appreciation for our foundational
entities. We officially kicked off the Stewardship in Faith program with
the article in the October issue of the Western New York Catholic. I am
pleased to report that every parish in the Diocese is participating in
Obviously pastors will be exercising sensitivity in regard to those
people who are not able because of various reasons to give as much as
they would like, but it is very encouraging to know that 100% of our
parishes are showing support for this vitally necessary program.
This week you will receive a letter from your pastor with more
information about Stewardship in Faith and how you can further
participate. The letter will describe the needs of the parish to be
funded by your increased donations.
The weekend of November 3rd and 4th you will hear a special talk at
all Masses that will speak directly about Stewardship in Faith.
Commitment Weekend is November 10th and 11th. As you decide the
amount of your increase, I pray that you will consider seriously the
needs of your parish and at the same time God's gifts to you, perhaps
with a more acute appreciation because of the events in recent weeks.
Please remember that, as in the first Stewardship in Faith program
three years ago, all monies raised will remain in the parish. Stronger
parishes mean a stronger diocese, a stronger family of God.
Be assured once again of my deepest sentiments of gratitude for your
abiding concern and effective generosity. May God continue to bless you
and bless us all.
Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell
Bishop of Buffalo
November 1, 2001